January in the legislature was spent hearing the Governor’s budget proposals, getting acclimated to new committees and learning about concepts relevant to proposals that are being introduced.
The bulk of my time has been spent working to pull together a number of House telecommunications expansion proposals and coordinating with the Governor’s administration to introduce his financing and permitting proposals for rural build out.
Next week a proposal to delay implementation of Act 46 forced mergers was scheduled to take place and if it proceeds will likely receive a significant amount of debate on the floor.
Reports and notes of interest from the fourth week of the legislature below:
Twin Valley students in the house!
Wednesday afternoon Twin Valley eighth graders came to the Capital and visited with the Secretary of State, legislators, the Speaker of the House and the Governor. The students have been working on mock governments and came prepared with tough questions. Kudos to teacher Scott Salway and the Twin Valley students!
Sin tax on e-cigs passes House This bill proposes to raise the rate of tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.25 per pack and to raise the tax on new smokeless tobacco products by a corresponding amount. Vermont House passes 92-percent e-cigarette tax
Grant opportunity now available through Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC)
NBRC, a Federal-State partnership program in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine has expanded it’s eligibility area to include every county in the State of Vermont. Using the determined distress factor of each county the match for projects in Orleans, Essex, Caledonia, Rutland, and Orange Counties is 20% and the remaining counties match percentage is 50%. Municipalities and qualified Not-for-Profit organizations can apply for up to a $500,000 maximum award for eligible infrastructure projects, and up to a $250,000 maximum award for all other types of eligible projects.The 2019 application will be available on the NBRC website in late February with a Letter of Notification due on March 30th.
Informational meetings will be arranged throughout the state in March and April to assist applicants.
- Community-Based Public Hearings on the Governor’s Recommended FY2020 State Budget.
The Vermont House and Senate Committees on Appropriations are seeking public input on the Governor’s Recommended FY2020 State Budget and will hold community-based public hearings on Monday, February 25, 2019, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the following 5 locations. An additional location in Springfield will be held from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
- Morrisville – People’s Academy High School, Auditorium, top of Copley Avenue
- Rutland City – Rutland Public Schools, Longfellow School Building, Board Room
- St. Johnsbury – St. Johnsbury House, Main dining room, 1207 Main Street
- St. Albans City – St. Albans City School, Library, 29 Bellows Street
- Winooski – Community College of Vermont, Room 108, 1 Abenaki Way
- Springfield – Springfield Town Hall, 96 Main Street, 3 Floor Conference Room (Selectmen’s Hall)5:30-6:30 p.m.
The Committees will take testimony on the Governor’s recommended State budget at the above dates and times. Anyone interested in testifying should come to one of the hearings. Time limits on testimony may apply depending on volume of participants. If you have a story you would like to share privately with the committee members, please contact Theresa to schedule this at the end of one of the hearings.To view or print a copy of the proposed budget, go to the Department of Finance and Management’s website at the following URL address: https://finance.vermont.gov/budget/budget-recommendations/operating-budget/fy2020
For more information about the format of these events, or to submit written testimony, contact Theresa Utton-Jerman or Rebecca Buck firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or at 802-828-5767 or toll-free within Vermont at 1-800-322-5616. Requests for interpreters should be made by Friday, February 8
- Information Session Adjutant General Feb 5th 4-6 Room 11
Joint Hearing with Senate Government Operations to hear from candidates for Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard.
- H.57 Public Hearing
There will be a Public Hearing Wednesday Feb 6th 4:30 – 6:30 pm in the well of the House on bill H.57 An act relating to preserving the right to abortion.
H.57 makes no changes to the status quo, which is that Vermonters currently have the right to safe, legal abortion care without government interference. H.57 codifies into state law current practices with regard to abortion care in Vermont.
A reminder: You’re landline telephone is supposed to be working and providing clear reliable communications, being repaired and new service installed in a timely fashion. What to do if your land line phone is not working in Vermont
In the news:
- Scott pitches broadband expansion package to lawmakers
- As lawmakers select a new leader of the Green Mountain Boys, candidates focus on treatment of women
- One Man’s Quest To Prove Vermont Has Terrible Cell Service
- The Cannabis Catch-Up: Does This Vermont Weed Bill Stand a Chance?
Click here to monitor the bills I introduce, my committees work and my votes on roll call votes on the legislative website. You can also see what the House and Senate will be taking up each day and listen to proceedings live on VPR.